Art Marketing 101???


I do not think I am alone in my complete confusion as to what art marketing is. What is it and how does one actually do it? These questions fill hundreds of books at the local library and are the discussion topic for many an art group meeting.

I have read dozens of books on this subject and though they are full of ideas and plans of action I still find myself lost. I feel like I am living inside a small cardboard box with no packing material inside while it is being shipped internationally on the cheap plan! I am sure there are more than one of us artists who have similar feelings of dread and confusion when it comes to marketing our art.

There has to be a magic bullet that will bring our amazing art to the light of day and make us the toast of the town, right? From all I’ve read and experienced there is not ( insert sad Face emoji). I see magnificent art from most amazing and talented artists languishing in their basements or studios and they are not getting the accolades they deserve ( I have a feeling that I might be one of these afore mentioned amazing and talented artists?)

Every time I implement one of the amazing life altering steps in the marketing plan I find that I have not taken a step ahead but realized that there is a whole new set of stairs that I had not realized existed. How is this possible? Who makes these damned rules and how do I get a rule book?

If only, is a statement I find myself saying over and over again. If only I had the contacts with the rich and famous to get my life changing art out into the world where it belongs. If only I hadn’t moved so often, I would have naturally grown my contact list to include the perfect buyers.  If only I had gotten my fine arts degree when I was stupid enough to be going to school full time and not working or raising children, etc., etc., etc., etc.

My journey to market my amazing and mind blowing art to the world has been 4 years in the making and I still have not hit hot success but I am still creating and still learning. Please join me in this journey. Maybe I can help you avoid the stumbling blocks I am constantly tripping over.

Naked Art/ Naked Artist



Naked – no clothing, exposed, vulnerable, bare, stripped, au natural, in the raw. What is the meaning of naked art? To depict the subject without clothing, to get to the core of their essence, to show the “real” person, their soul. The artist who can do this is heralded as a genius and a visionary. It is the practice all artist look at as the essential training- to go to open model nights and draw in charcoal as the masters learned. But what about the naked artist?

Every time we create a piece of art: fine art, music, poetry, structural, etc, we are exposing ourselves down to the raw essence of our souls, or at least, if we are being true to our art, we are. Every time we show our pieces or perform them we are baring our au natural to the world.  Perhaps you are a flasher who only gets a thrill from a quick titillating viewing to a very small audience. Or you are a full exhibitionist nudist who walks around the beach with all your dingily dangly parts flapping in the wind. Still others take their pleasure from being naked in their own safe homes with no one else to see.

Every time we show the creations we have made there is the danger of people seeing too much of us, something they can not un-see. We wonder if this will change the way they look at us forever. Perhaps they will like us less and titter behind our backs at what we have on offer. The act of showing art is an act that takes great will and confidence that many have to fake. The thought alone of showing someone new our art, brings sweat to our upper lip and makes our respiration quicken. The flight or fight response is clicked on and we are poised to run at a moments notice. Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best, as the saying goes. The shear fact that we artist get any art out there at all is a miracle and a huge testament to our fortitude and love of our art.

If you were told that to make your living you would have to go out everyday naked in front of crowds of your collogues and strangers, most of us we decline. Yet we artists walk out there boobs first every time we go into a show or compete in a competition. Here is my soul for you to judge and sneer at and say you’ve seen better.

&*^$*@  I say! You have never seen better than my soul or any artists soul. We are pure and courageous and do things that the average person would never dare to think of, let alone carry out. Our ability to take criticism and abuse and still carry on should be applauded by everyone. We voluntarily walk in front of the firing line. Why? Each artist has her reasons. Sometimes, often in fact, I question mine. What ever it is I still have a need to create art no one buys and everyone looks at with a tilted head and a confused look on their faces. There must be some joy in being naked in front of strangers and collogues or why would I do it? Hmmmm……. I’ll have to think on this more and perhaps, do a few more sit ups.

Art Marketing 101- The Art of being taken advantage of.

Joy of life competition

As artists we will take almost any opportunity to get our work out into the world so the greater population can come to love us and covet what we create. This can often be a fun experience where we go out of our comfort zones and grow from the experience. We enter our work in juried shows, charity shows, donate them to our kids schools for auction, and more. In its purest positive form these events show the public what we can do, add to our mailing list of potential clients and  give us the boost we need to continue our solo practice of creating art. The flip side is the part where we artists get taken advantage of and used by the bigger world for their own gains.

To take advantage of an artist and her art is shameless and cruel. We are often poor in funds and resources and unable to help ourselves when we see the abuse begin. The power holders know this and use our weaknesses against us and even worse turn the artists against each other. The promise of a potential sale, amazing public exposure, and even, the holy grail, prize money, are far too much for us to turn away from. It is akin to holding a sandwich in front of a starving man. He doesn’t care what is in the sandwich until his basic need for survival is satiated.

I have had such an experience recently that has left a bad taste in my mouth and curse words on my lips. There was a promise of the largest prize package in the cities history and exposure for the artists. To the credit of the sponsor they did supply both the prize money and public exposure. Perhaps you would say the sour taste in my mouth comes from not winning, and that could be part of it but the handling of all the artist was cruel and neglectful. At the final event of the competition we were shown our work hung on the gallery wall. As we walked in there were 5 paintings, of the 15 entered, hung on black cloth and beautifully light around the sponsors logo. The rest of the artists work was hung on poorly light walls with little or no lighting on it. The results of the contest were obvious immediately but we were made to wait over an hour to hear the results. I conceded immediately that I had not won as my painting was off in the corner with the light not focused on my work.  C’est la vie and move on. The sponsor knew what he wanted and had chosen. That is the chance we take. However….

It went from bad to worse as the night went on. We were made to stand in front of everyone and the camera, we were being recorded not realizing that we would be, as he called our names. I thought, oh perhaps the obvious hanging of work is just random and I do have a chance! Oh no, He had 4 of us stand there and in popular TV fashion had a long painful pause as he told two of us to sit down as we had not been chosen. That was horrific! Not because I had not won but because we were being made a spectacle of against our wills. This BS had not been discussed and agreed to ahead of time. We did not sign up to be publicly shamed on camera. We had done it for the art and he had used us for his own amusement and profit. I was fuming and trying not to show it on  my face. We had to stay and take photos and watch as he tortured everyone up to the 1st place winner. It was cruel to everyone, even the winners.

Then to add the last  insult to a dying man, the owner came up to me and said he would not have understood my piece of art at all had I not written up the meaning for him. What! No understanding of art at all! But of course he would be happy to sell my piece for me in his gallery. I asked what his commission was and he said ” fiftee percent” I clarified “15%” , ” he said ” no 50%” I thanked him and left.

At least now I have the choice to be taken advantage of by his gallery. I have forewarning of the financial abuse I will have to survive to sell in the space. 50%! are they kidding. He already used our faces, names and art work in 3 different public events to promote his business and will continue to use us in his advertising for his advantage and now he wants to take half of our earnings! GRRRR! Again, its back to the staving man analogy, and I have to decide if I can survive longer without eating or eating a bitter pill sandwich.

Painting our world in to focus.

City Flowers en Plein Air.

I’ve never been much for nature, as many of you know, but the world seems so full of beauty and growth that it is pointless to try and avoid it. My dear friends in the Calgary Sketch Club have an outing to paint en Plein Air twice a year, in June and September. Plein air painting practice goes back many centuries and was made famous by the French Impressionists. “En Plein Air” Is a French expression for ” in the open air”. Artists grab their supplies and walk into the open spaces of their world and paint exactly what they see.

This, out in the open,  painting is liberating and frustrating at the same time. The paintings are often done in one sitting with no reference material and only the artists eye and skill to aid them along. What you bring with you internally and physically is all you get, this is a real test of the artists skill and vision. How do we interpret the world we live in? What do we see that others do not. The artists eye is a unique gift that sees the world differently and possibly more truly than the rest of the world.

The en Plien Air experiment will help me explore the new world of Surrey BC and develop a love for my new home. It is a city so full of people and buildings but so full of parks and green space too ,so I’m excited to see what little gems expose themselves to me. The journey begins…..


Marketing Bazooka Boy a Journey….

This is Bazooka Boy. He is 20″x16″ oil on canvas painting that has gotten a little bit of acclaim in his short life. This acclaim, in my dreams, was going to skyrocket me into the world of Any Warhol and Picasso. It has not turned out to be the case. HMMM, I am confused….. The painting got rave reviews at it s first art critique by a well known artist who< I find awesome, said her should be able to compete in international competitions and win. ( I still am not sure what that really means but it gives me hope.) Second bazooka Boy won best in show at the Calgary Creative Arts Guild show in the fall of 2017. This was no was no easy feet as the club has some magnificent Awe inspiring artists,who I am humbled and privileged to know. Then 3rd Bazooka Boy won entry into the Surrey 2018 Jury art exhibition and won 3rd place in his oil on canvas category.

Now I know what you are all thinking, Wow that’s amazing it must be hanging on some great art collectors wall by now. Well…. Nope he is still just hanging on the Surrey art gallery wall making people chat and shake their head at what this crazy artist was thinking. I am not sure what to do next with this fabulous piece of art but when I do figure it out I am sure it will be something from one of these great art marketing books that I insist on reading everyday.

“People say graffiti is ugly, irresponsible and childish… but that’s only if it’s done properly.”
― Banksy, Wall and Piece